What Is Drifting
With the streets replaced by a race track drifting competitions have been evolving all over the planet! The key in competition drifting is to go as sideways as possible for as long as possible, trying to link all corners in a fluent and controlled motion.
It is an extraordinary way of racing and one of the few motorsports where time isnt an issue. As the great racing driver Keiichi Tsuchiya (considered to be the father of drifting) mentioned, I drift not because it is the quickest way around the corner, but because it is the most exciting! Drifting has nothing to do with being the fastest. Its an exhibition sport where individual runs are judged on various criteria.
These criteria for judging the runs are...
- Car's angle & line
- Entry- and exit speed
- Amount of tire spin/smoke
- Distance from the walls or barriers
The path or line through the corner that drifters take is very similar to the racing line, because this line still remains the fastest way to go through a corner. You try to enter as wide as possible, touch the inside (apex) and exit the corner going out as wide as possible, trying to use up every bit of extra track width left. In professional drifting, drivers sometimes exit corners as extreme as allowing one tire to go over the track edge. The key to getting high scores is to position your car as close as possible to everything, to the walls, barriers, track edge, apex, etc.
I guess the drift angle speaks for itself. Of course it's pretty spectacular to see a drift where the driver goes extremely sideways. Preferably as sideways as possible! Judges look at the drift angle as well as how early and aggressive the driver sets up his car to drift all the way through the corner.
Showmanship is about the spectacle that the driver brings about when drifting his car through the turn(s). Showmanship basically is all of the criteria mentioned above that a drift consists of. Combined together this creates the overall presence.
Everything has to do with the presentation...The details such as the amount of smoke, the extreme line or super early entry all form one lasting expression. The impressive aero kit, flashing lights and neon, the engine bouncing off the rev-limiter, or showing off maximum car control all help to create this one impression called showmanship.
Smoke is one of the main elements of showmanship, because it just makes it that much more crazier than drifting already is. The amount of smoke a tire can produce when it's spinning is just insane!
In just about any drifting competition the overall concept is to start out with individual runs. The event starts out by some practice sessions to get familiar with the track layout, warming-up and to test their vehicles. After practice each driver gets a chance to qualify for the final battles. In these individual qualifying runs each racer tries to show off their skills to advance to the next rounds.
In the final battles the best sixteen qualified drivers each take their turn in sets of two, participating in head-to-head battles. These twin drifting- or tandem drifting battles are the most exciting part of the event for the spectators.
As each driver gets a chance to lead and to chase, the way to win these battles in the chasing position is to drift as close as possible to the leading car, or even try to overtake the car in front. Drifters usually come into contact with each other because the battling really makes drifting much more difficult. As if drifting isnt hard enough!
A spinout, crash or loss of control will make you lose the battle instantly. As the leading car you can try to spread the lead by going as fast as you can, while still making monstrous drifts.